Malaria may have passed from chimpanzees to humans - 6 Aug 2009
Researchers at the University of California-Irvine, USA reported to the National Academy of Sciences that the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, is a genetic relative of a common parasite found in chimpanzees.
The finding suggests that malaria is one more in a growing list of diseases that have passed from animals to humans. Others include HIV/AIDS, which also was passed from chimpanzees, tuberculosis from cows and their milk, and swine flu, largely a product of pig factory farms.
In an update on the swine flu pandemic, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported a global total of 199,034 cases across at least 168 countries, with fatalities rising daily to 1,444 so far. However, all experts know the real prevalence of infection is many times greater. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) just reiterated its forecast that swine flu could infect 2 billion people in the world.
Although the rate of swine flu infections in Mexico had been declining, the number of officially confirmed cases jumped over 1,100 in five days, bringing the total to more than 17,000. Death rates rose significantly in Latin America, including three more fatalities each in Costa Rica, Peru and El Salvador. Saudi Arabia also announced two additional fatalities. Âu Lạc (Vietnam), India and South Africa have all reported their first lives claimed by the virus, as concerns over Tamiflu resistance increase. US health authorities have already reported a number of Tamiflu-resistant cases in Texas.